Voyage au centre de la terre. English
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Voyage au centre de la terre. English

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Project Gutenberg's A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Author: Jules Verne
Release Date: July 18, 2006 [EBook #18857]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CENTRE OF THE EARTH ***
Produced by Norm Wolcott
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
By Jules Verne
[ Redactor's Note:Journey to the Centre of the Earthnumber is V002in the Taves and Michaluk numbering of the works of Jules Verne. First published in England by Griffith and Farran, 1871, this edition is not a translation at all but a complete re-write of the novel, with portions added and omitted, and names changed. The most reprinted version, it is entered into Project Gutenberg for reference purposes only. A better translation isA Journey into the Interior of the Earthon Projectby Rev. F. A. Malleson, also available  translated Gutenberg.]
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY CHAPTER 2 THE MYSTERIOUS PARCHMENT CHAPTER 3 AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY CHAPTER 4 WE START ON THE JOURNEY CHAPTER 5 FIRST LESSONS IN CLIMBING CHAPTER 6 OUR VOYAGE TO ICELAND
CHAPTER 7 CONVERSATION AND DISCOVERY CHAPTER 8 THE EIDER-DOWN HUNTER—OFF AT LAST CHAPTER 9 OUR START—WE MEET WITH ADVENTURES BY THE WAY CHAPTER 10 TRAVELING IN ICELAND CHAPTER 11 WE REACH MOUNT SNEFFELS—THE "REYKIR" CHAPTER 12 THE ASCENT OF MOUNT SNEFFELS CHAPTER 13 THE SHADOW OF SCARTARIS CHAPTER 14 THE REAL JOURNEY COMMENCES CHAPTER 15 WE CONTINUE OUR DESCENT CHAPTER 16 THE EASTERN TUNNEL CHAPTER 17 DEEPER AND DEEPER—THE COAL MINE CHAPTER 18 THE WRONG ROAD! CHAPTER 19 THE WESTERN GALLERY—A NEW ROUTE CHAPTER 20 WATER, WHERE IS IT? A BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT CHAPTER 21 UNDER THE OCEAN CHAPTER 22 SUNDAY BELOW GROUND CHAPTER 23 ALONE CHAPTER 24 LOST! CHAPTER 25 THE WHISPERING GALLERY CHAPTER 26 A RAPID RECOVERY CHAPTER 27 THE CENTRAL SEA CHAPTER 28 LAUNCHING THE RAFT CHAPTER 29 ON THE WATERS—A RAFT VOYAGE CHAPTER 30 TERRIFIC SAURIAN COMBAT CHAPTER 31 THE SEA MONSTER CHAPTER 32 THE BATTLE OF THE ELEMENTS CHAPTER 33 OUR ROUTE REVERSED CHAPTER 34 A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY CHAPTER 35 DISCOVERY UPON DISCOVERY CHAPTER 36 WHAT IS IT? CHAPTER 37 THE MYSTERIOUS DAGGER CHAPTER 38 NO OUTLET—BLASTING THE ROCK CHAPTER 39 THE EXPLOSION AND ITS RESULTS CHAPTER 40 THE APE GIGANS CHAPTER 41 HUNGER CHAPTER 42 THE VOLCANIC SHAFT CHAPTER 43 DAYLIGHT AT LAST CHAPTER 44 THE JOURNEY ENDED
CHAPTER 1
MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY
Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures. They were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them.
My uncle was a German, having married my mother's s ister, an Englishwoman. Being very much attached to his fatherless nephew, he invited me to study under him in his home in the fatherland. This home was in a large town, and my uncle a professor of philosophy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, and many other ologies.
One day, after passing some hours in the laboratory—my uncle being absent at the time—I suddenly felt the necessity of renovating the tissues—i.e., I was hungry, and was about to rouse up our old French co ok, when my uncle, Professor Von Hardwigg, suddenly opened the street door, and came rushing upstairs.
Now Professor Hardwigg, my worthy uncle, is by no means a bad sort of man; he is, however, choleric and original. To bear with him means to obey; and scarcely had his heavy feet resounded within our joint domicile than he shouted for me to attend upon him.
"Harry—Harry—Harry—"
I hastened to obey, but before I could reach his room, jumping three steps at a time, he was stamping his right foot upon the landing.
"Harry!" he cried, in a frantic tone, "are you coming up?"
Now to tell the truth, at that moment I was far more interested in the question as to what was to constitute our dinner than in any problem of science; to me soup was more interesting than soda, an omelette mo re tempting than arithmetic, and an artichoke of ten times more valu e than any amount of asbestos.
But my uncle was not a man to be kept waiting; so adjourning therefore all minor questions, I presented myself before him.
He was a very learned man. Now most persons in this category supply themselves with information, as peddlers do with goods, for the benefit of others, and lay up stores in order to diffuse them abroad for the benefit of society in general. Not so my excellent uncle, Professor Hardwigg; he studied, he consumed the midnight oil, he pored over heavy tomes, and digested huge quartos and folios in order to keep the knowledge acquired to himself.
There was a reason, and it may be regarded as a good one, why my uncle objected to display his learning more than was abso lutely necessary: he stammered; and when intent upon explaining the phenomena of the heavens, was apt to find himself at fault, and allude in such a vague way to sun, moon, and stars that few were able to comprehend his meaning. To tell the honest truth, when the right word would not come, it was generally replaced by a very powerful adjective.
In connection with the sciences there are many almost unpronounceable names—names very much resembling those of Welsh villages; and my uncle being very fond of using them, his habit of stammering was not thereby improved. In fact, there were periods in his discourse when he would finally give up and swallow his discomfiture—in a glass of water.
As I said, myuncle, Professor Hardwigg, was a verylearned man; and I now
add a most kind relative. I was bound to him by the double ties of affection and interest. I took deep interest in all his doings, and hoped some day to be almost as learned myself. It was a rare thing for me to be absent from his lectures. Like him, I preferred mineralogy to all the other sciences. My anxiety was to gain real knowledge of the earth. Geology and mineralogy were to us the sole objects of life, and in connection with these studies many a fair specimen of stone, chalk, or metal did we break with our hammers.
Steel rods, loadstones, glass pipes, and bottles of various acids were oftener before us than our meals. My uncle Hardwigg was once known to classify six hundred different geological specimens by their wei ght, hardness, fusibility, sound, taste, and smell.
He corresponded with all the great, learned, and scientific men of the age. I was, therefore, in constant communication with, at all events the letters of, Sir Humphry Davy, Captain Franklin, and other great men.
But before I state the subject on which my uncle wished to confer with me, I must say a word about his personal appearance. Alas! my readers will see a very different portrait of him at a future time, after he has gone through the fearful adventures yet to be related.
My uncle was fifty years old; tall, thin, and wiry. Large spectacles hid, to a certain extent, his vast, round, and goggle eyes, while his nose was irreverently compared to a thin file. So much indeed did it resemble that useful article, that a compass was said in his presence to have made consi derable N (Nasal) deviation.
The truth being told, however, the only article really attracted to my uncle's nose was tobacco.
Another peculiarity of his was, that he always stepped a yard at a time, clenched his fists as if he were going to hit you, and was, when in one of his peculiar humors, very far from a pleasant companion.
It is further necessary to observe that he lived in a very nice house, in that very nice street, the Konigstrasse at Hamburg. Though lying in the centre of a town, it was perfectly rural in its aspect—half woo d, half bricks, with old-fashioned gables—one of the few old houses spared by the great fire of 1842.
When I say a nice house, I mean a handsome house—old, tottering, and not exactly comfortable to English notions: a house a little off the perpendicular and inclined to fall into the neighboring canal; exactly the house for a wandering artist to depict; all the more that you could scarcely see it for ivy and a magnificent old tree which grew over the door.
My uncle was rich; his house was his own property, while he had a considerable private income. To my notion the best part of his possessions was his god-daughter, Gretchen. And the old cook, the young lady, the Professor and I were the sole inhabitants.
I loved mineralogy, I loved geology. To me there was nothing like pebbles —and if my uncle had been in a little less of a fury, we should have been the happiest of families. To prove the excellent Hardwigg's impatience, I solemnly declare that when the flowers in the drawing-room pots began to grow, he rose
every morning at four o'clock to make them grow quicker by pulling the leaves!
Having described my uncle, I will now give an account of our interview.
He received me in his study; a perfect museum, containing every natural curiosity that can well be imagined—minerals, however, predominating. Every one was familiar to me, having been catalogued by my own hand. My uncle, apparently oblivious of the fact that he had summoned me to his presence, was absorbed in a book. He was particularly fond of early editions, tall copies, and unique works.
"Wonderful!" he cried, tapping his forehead. "Wonderful—wonderful!"
It was one of those yellow-leaved volumes now rarely found on stalls, and to me it appeared to possess but little value. My uncle, however, was in raptures.
He admired its binding, the clearness of its characters, the ease with which it opened in his hand, and repeated aloud, half a dozen times, that it was very, very old.
To my fancy he was making a great fuss about nothing, but it was not my province to say so. On the contrary, I professed considerable interest in the subject, and asked him what it was about.
"It is the Heims-Kringla of Snorre Tarleson," he sa id, "the celebrated Icelandic author of the twelfth century—it is a true and correct account of the Norwegian princes who reigned in Iceland."
My next question related to the language in which it was written. I hoped at all events it was translated into German. My uncle was indignant at the very thought, and declared he wouldn't give a penny for a translation. His delight was to have found the original work in the Icelandic tongue, which he declared to be one of the most magnificent and yet simple idioms in the world—while at the same time its grammatical combinations were the most varied known to students.
"About as easy as German?" was my insidious remark.
My uncle shrugged his shoulders.
"The letters at all events," I said, "are rather difficult of comprehension."
"It is a Runic manuscript, the language of the original population of Iceland, invented by Odin himself," cried my uncle, angry at my ignorance.
I was about to venture upon some misplaced joke on the subject, when a small scrap of parchment fell out of the leaves. Like a hungry man snatching at a morsel of bread the Professor seized it. It was about five inches by three and was scrawled over in the most extraordinary fashion.
The lines shown here are an exact facsimile of what was written on the venerable piece of parchment—and have wonderful imp ortance, as they induced my uncle to undertake the most wonderful series of adventures which ever fell to the lot of human beings.
My uncle looked keenly at the document for some moments and then declared that it was Runic. The letters were similar to those in the book, but
then what did they mean? This was exactly what I wanted to know.
Now as I had a strong conviction that the Runic alphabet and dialect were simply an invention to mystify poor human nature, I was delighted to find that my uncle knew as much about the matter as I did—which was nothing. At all events the tremulous motion of his fingers made me think so.
"And yet," he muttered to himself, "it is old Icelandic, I am sure of it."
And my uncle ought to have known, for he was a perfect polyglot dictionary in himself. He did not pretend, like a certain learned pundit, to speak the two thousand languages and four thousand idioms made use of in different parts of the globe, but he did know all the more important ones.
It is a matter of great doubt to me now, to what violent measures my uncle's impetuosity might have led him, had not the clock struck two, and our old French cook called out to let us know that dinner was on the table.
"Bother the dinner!" cried my uncle.
But as I was hungry, I sallied forth to the dining room, where I took up my usual quarters. Out of politeness I waited three mi nutes, but no sign of my uncle, the Professor. I was surprised. He was not u sually so blind to the pleasure of a good dinner. It was the acme of German luxury—parsley soup, a ham omelette with sorrel trimmings, an oyster of veal stewed with prunes, delicious fruit, and sparkling Moselle. For the sake of poring over this musty old piece of parchment, my uncle forbore to share our meal. To satisfy my conscience, I ate for both.
The old cook and housekeeper was nearly out of her mind. After taking so much trouble, to find her master not appear at dinn er was to her a sad disappointment—which, as she occasionally watched the havoc I was making on the viands, became also alarm. If my uncle were to come to table after all?
Suddenly, just as I had consumed the last apple and drunk the last glass of wine, a terrible voice was heard at no great distance. It was my uncle roaring for me to come to him. I made very nearly one leap of it—so loud, so fierce was his tone.
CHAPTER 2
THE MYSTERIOUS PARCHMENT
"I declare," cried my uncle, striking the table fiercely with his fist, "I declare to you it is Runic—and contains some wonderful secret, which I must get at, at any price."
I was about to reply when he stopped me.
"Sit down," he said, quite fiercely, "and write to my dictation."
I obeyed.
"I will substitute," he said, "a letter of our alphabet for that of the Runic: we will then see what that will produce. Now, begin and make no mistakes."
The dictation commenced with the following incomprehensible result:
mm.rnlls esruel seecJde sgtssmf unteief niedrke kt,samn atrateS Saodrrn emtnaeI nuaect rrilSa Atvaar .nscrc ieaabs ccdrmi eeutul frantu dt,iac oseibo KediiY
Scarcely giving me time to finish, my uncle snatched the document from my hands and examined it with the most rapt and deep attention.
"I should like to know what it means," he said, after a long period.
I certainly could not tell him, nor did he expect me to—his conversation being uniformly answered by himself.
"I declare it puts me in mind of a cryptograph," he cried, "unless, indeed, the letters have been written without any real meaning; and yet why take so much trouble? Who knows but I may be on the verge of some great discovery?"
My candid opinion was that it was all rubbish! But this opinion I kept carefully to myself, as my uncle's choler was not pleasant to bear. All this time he was comparing the book with the parchment.
"The manuscript volume and the smaller document are written in different hands," he said, "the cryptograph is of much later date than the book; there is an undoubted proof of the correctness of my surmise. [An irrefragable proof I took it to be.] The first letter is a double M, whi ch was only added to the
Icelandic language in the twelfth century—this makes the parchment two hundred years posterior to the volume."
The circumstances appeared very probable and very logical, but it was all surmise to me.
"To me it appears probable that this sentence was written by some owner of the book. Now who was the owner, is the next important question. Perhaps by great good luck it may be written somewhere in the volume."
With these words Professor Hardwigg took off his spectacles, and, taking a powerful magnifying glass, examined the book carefully.
On the fly leaf was what appeared to be a blot of i nk, but on examination proved to be a line of writing almost effaced by time. This was what he sought; and, after some considerable time, he made out these letters:
"Arne Saknussemm!" he cried in a joyous and triumphant tone, "that is not only an Icelandic name, but of a learned professor of the sixteenth century, a celebrated alchemist."
I bowed as a sign of respect.
"These alchemists," he continued, "Avicenna, Bacon, Lully, Paracelsus, were the true, the only learned men of the day. The y made surprising discoveries. May not this Saknussemm, nephew mine, have hidden on this bit of parchment some astounding invention? I believe the cryptograph to have a profound meaning—which I must make out."
My uncle walked about the room in a state of excitement almost impossible to describe.
"It may be so, sir," I timidly observed, "but why conceal it from posterity, if it be a useful, a worthy discovery?"
"Why—how should I know? Did not Galileo make a secret of his discoveries in connection with Saturn? But we shall see. Until I discover the meaning of this sentence I will neither eat nor sleep."
"My dear uncle—" I began.
"Nor you neither," he added.
It was lucky I had taken double allowance that day.
"In the first place," he continued, "there must be a clue to the meaning. If we could find that, the rest would be easy enough."
I began seriously to reflect. The prospect of going without food and sleep was not a promising one, so I determined to do my best to solve the mystery. My uncle, meanwhile, went on with his soliloquy.
"The way to discover it is easy enough. In this document there are one
hundred and thirty-two letters, giving seventy-nine consonants to fifty-three vowels. This is about the proportion found in most southern languages, the idioms of the north being much more rich in consonants. We may confidently predict, therefore, that we have to deal with a southern dialect."
Nothing could be more logical.
"Now," said Professor Hardwigg, "to trace the particular language."
"As Shakespeare says, 'that is the question,"' was my rather satirical reply.
"This man Saknussemm," he continued, "was a very learned man: now as he did not write in the language of his birthplace, he probably, like most learned men of the sixteenth century, wrote in Latin. If, however, I prove wrong in this guess, we must try Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, and even Hebrew. My own opinion, though, is decidedly in favor of Latin."
This proposition startled me. Latin was my favorite study, and it seemed sacrilege to believe this gibberish to belong to the country of Virgil.
"Barbarous Latin, in all probability," continued my uncle, "but still Latin."
"Very probably," I replied, not to contradict him.
"Let us see into the matter," continued my uncle; "here you see we have a series of one hundred and thirty-two letters, apparently thrown pell-mell upon paper, without method or organization. There are words which are composed wholly of consonants, such asmm.rnlls, others which are nearly all vowels, the fifth, for instance, which is unteief, and one of the last oseibo. This appears an extraordinary combination. Probably we shall find that the phrase is arranged according to some mathematical plan. No doubt a certain sentence has been written out and then jumbled up—some plan to which some figure is the clue. Now, Harry, to show your English wit—what is that figure?"
I could give him no hint. My thoughts were indeed far away. While he was speaking I had caught sight of the portrait of my cousin Gretchen, and was wondering when she would return.
We were affianced, and loved one another very sincerely. But my uncle, who never thought even of such sublunary matters, knew nothing of this. Without noticing my abstraction, the Professor began reading the puzzling cryptograph all sorts of ways, according to some theory of his own. Presently, rousing my wandering attention, he dictated one precious attempt to me.
I mildly handed it over to him. It read as follows:
mmessunkaSenrA.icefdoK.segnittamurtn ecertserrette,rotaivsadua,ednecsedsadne lacartniiilrJsiratracSarbmutabiledmek meretarcsilucoYsleffenSnI.
I could scarcely keep from laughing, while my uncle, on the contrary, got in a towering passion, struck the table with his fist, darted out of the room, out of the house, and then taking to his heels was presently lost to sight.
CHAPTER 3
AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY
"What is the matter?" cried the cook, entering the room; "when will master have his dinner?"
"Never."
"And, his supper?"
"I don't know. He says he will eat no more, neither shall I. My uncle has determined to fast and make me fast until he makes out this abominable inscription," I replied.
"You will be starved to death," she said.
I was very much of the same opinion, but not liking to say so, sent her away, and began some of my usual work of classification. But try as I might, nothing could keep me from thinking alternately of the stupid manuscript and of the pretty Gretchen.
Several times I thought of going out, but my uncle would have been angry at my absence. At the end of an hour, my allotted task was done. How to pass the time? I began by lighting my pipe. Like all other students, I delighted in tobacco; and, seating myself in the great armchair, I began to think.
Where was my uncle? I could easily imagine him tearing along some solitary road, gesticulating, talking to himself, cutting the air with his cane, and still thinking of the absurd bit of hieroglyphics. Would he hit upon some clue? Would he come home in better humor? While these thoughts were passing through my brain, I mechanically took up the execrable puzzle and tried every imaginable way of grouping the letters. I put them together by twos, by threes, fours, and fives—in vain. Nothing intelligible came out, except that the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth madeicein English; the eighty-fourth, eighty-fifth, and eighty-sixth, the wordsir; then at last I seemed to find the Latin words rota, mutabile, ira, nec, atra.
"Ha! there seems to be some truth in my uncle's notion," thought I.
Then again I seemed to find the wordluco, which means sacred wood. Then in the third line I appeared to make outlabiled, a perfect Hebrew word, and at the last the syllables mere, are, mer, which were French.
It was enough to drive one mad. Four different idioms in this absurd phrase. What connection could there be between ice, sir, anger, cruel, sacred wood, changing, mother, are, and sea? The first and the l ast might, in a sentence connected with Iceland, mean sea of ice. But what of the rest of this monstrous cryptograph?
I was, in fact, fighting against an insurmountable difficulty; my brain was almost on fire; myeyes were strained with staringat theparchment; the whole
absurd collection of letters appeared to dance before my vision in a number of black little groups. My mind was possessed with temporary hallucination—I was stifling. I wanted air. Mechanically I fanned myself with the document, of which now I saw the back and then the front.
Imagine my surprise when glancing at the back of the wearisome puzzle, the ink having gone through, I clearly made out Latin w ords, and among others craterem and terrestre.
I had discovered the secret!
It came upon me like a flash of lightning. I had got the clue. All you had to do to understand the document was to read it backwards. All the ingenious ideas of the Professor were realized; he had dictated it rightly to me; by a mere accident I had discovered what he so much desired.
My delight, my emotion may be imagined, my eyes were dazzled and I trembled so that at first I could make nothing of it. One look, however, would tell me all I wished to know.
"Let me read," I said to myself, after drawing a long breath.
I spread it before me on the table, I passed my finger over each letter, I spelled it through; in my excitement I read it out.
What horror and stupefaction took possession of my soul. I was like a man who had received a knock-down blow. Was it possible that I really read the terrible secret, and it had really been accomplished! A man had dared to do —what?
No living being should ever know.
"Never!" cried I, jumping up. "Never shall my uncle be made aware of the dread secret. He would be quite capable of undertaking the terrible journey. Nothing would check him, nothing stop him. Worse, he would compel me to accompany him, and we should be lost forever. But no; such folly and madness cannot be allowed."
I was almost beside myself with rage and fury.
"My worthy uncle is already nearly mad," I cried al oud. "This would finish him. By some accident he may make the discovery; in which case, we are both lost. Perish the fearful secret—let the flames forever bury it in oblivion."
I snatched up book and parchment, and was about to cast them into the fire, when the door opened and my uncle entered.
I had scarcely time to put down the wretched documents before my uncle was by my side. He was profoundly absorbed. His thoughts were evidently bent on the terrible parchment. Some new combination had probably struck him while taking his walk.
He seated himself in his armchair, and with a pen b egan to make an algebraical calculation. I watched him with anxious eyes. My flesh crawled as it became probable that he would discover the secret.
His combinations I knew now were useless, I having discovered the one only